Tea or Coffee Reigns Supreme in the UK – Which Is It?

So, which is more popular in the United Kingdom – coffee or tea? Well, that’s an easy one. After all, the United Kingdom might not be the place where tea drinking was invented, but they certainly spared no enthusiasm when it came to adopting the practice.

Tea still top beverage in the UK! (ETS image)
Tea still top beverage in the UK! (ETS image)

But’s it’s not quite that simple. Or at least it’s not if we’re to believe the press. Who can’t seem to come to a consensus on the matter, thus leaving us in a position where we’re not quite sure what to believe. Consider, if you will, a pair of articles with conflicting opinions appeared in the press just a few days apart.

In late April, a report from the AFP news agency announced that “Tea Still Reigns as Britain’s Queen of Drinks” and pointed out that the Brits still drink about 166 million cups (11 million gallons) of the stuff a day. Which is said to be enough that tea is “still comfortably holding off the challenge of coffee.” In contrast, coffee drinkers there apparently swill down a paltry 70 million cups of their beverage of choice each day. This, “despite the rapid expansion of the coffee shop sector in Britain.” For more of the alleged facts, take a look at the article, here.

A mere four days later, an article in The Scotsman (no bonus points for guessing where this one’s based – sorry) weighed in with an article asserting that there’s “No Time for Tea as UK Turns Into Nation of Coffee-Lovers.” This article cites a study that claims that “coffee is threatening to overtake tea” and that eight out of ten Brits drink coffee every day.

While the article references the British love for tea one of the people responsible for compiling it suggests that “we are also very much a nation of coffee drinkers nowadays.” And of course, there are plenty more facts and figures cited to make coffee’s case. You can check them out here.

Which leaves one in the position of not quite knowing what to make of it all, though I’m still putting my money on tea (no bias there). All of which brings to mind that old witticism so often attributed to Mark Twain, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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3 thoughts on “Tea or Coffee Reigns Supreme in the UK – Which Is It?

  1. Pingback: The British Are a Nation of Coffee Drinkers (Really?) | Tea Blog

  2. Pingback: Tea vs. Coffee in India | Tea Blog

  3. Pingback: Tea vs. Coffee in Sri Lanka | Tea Blog

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